Throughout the semester, in many of my comments I have referenced CHAARG, a club that I helped to bring to campus last spring. CHAARG stands for Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls and was started in 2012 by Elisabeth Tavierne. Elisabeth attended Ohio State University on a swimming scholarship, but after she quit the team she was shocked at the way girls worked out; as opposed to using all the weights and machines that she had grown accustomed to as a swimmer they typically hung out on the elliptical machines. Hence, the CHAARG slogan of “liberating girls from the elliptical” was born. CHAARG “aims to ignite a passion in college-aged girls for health and fitness” and its message resonates so well with girls our age that they have expanded to 37 Universities since their start.
How CHAARG uses social media:
Instagram is CHAARG’s most prominent platform and they currently have 24.4K followers. Everyday CHAARG posts a variety of photos including restaurants to try, new workouts, healthy recipes or motivational quotes; their entire Instagram embodies positivity. They also raise awareness of their organization by posting giveaways in which they encourage current members to tag a friend who may want to join.
CHAARG also encourages individual members to create INCHAARG Instagrams. These differ from personal Instagrams because they are all about health and fitness. Members use these Instagrams to connect to girls in other chapters, which helps the organization to feel national as opposed to members only being involved with their own chapter.
Every CHAARG chapter is required to have a Facebook page and the VP of Medias are responsible for posting once a day. Facebook helps to engage people who may be interested in CHAARG, but haven’t joined yet. For instance, 353 people like the Boston CHAARG facebook page, but this past semester we only had 65 members. People also message us on the Facebook page, which allows us to connect with both individuals and other clubs on the BC campus.
Every CHAARG chapter has their own twitter and CHAARG nationals has a twitter as well. While Twitter is one of the most important channels in #IS6621, for CHAARG it is one of the least important. That being said, it is the easiest way for other chapters to connect because the VP of Medias from different chapters will often retweet a post that another chapter posted.
- Google Plus
Throughout the semester we read some articles on how important video conferencing can be for businesses. Video conferencing allows businesses to make a more personal connection because you’re talking to people face to face. Since CHAARG is based in Chicago it can be difficult for Boston CHAARG to connect with the national leaders. The video feature through Google Plus allows our exec team to interact with nationals without putting a large group of people on a conference call.
One of the most important things I’ve found is the power of positivity. Caitlin (@caitlinym88) wrote a blog post about the negative impact of fitspo accounts, but what’s great about CHAARG is that your fitness goals are all your own and not dictated by weight loss of the quest for the “ideal body”. For example, a CHAARG member posted a photo of herself in a bikini on her Twitter and was cyber bullied by people saying that she didn’t have a good enough body to wear a bikini. The CHAARG community rallied around her and posted positive comments all about how she can wear whatever she wants. CHAARG even posted a blog post titled “Enough With the Rules: Wear Whatever the Hell you Want”
For the past year and a half I have been the VP of Media for Boston CHAARG so the end of #IS6621 corresponds with me handing over the Facebook and Twitter passwords to next year’s VP of Media. I’ll admit that I used to be extremely cynical about social media and while I am excited to no longer be required to post on Facebook or on Twitter, but both IS6621 and CHAARG have really helped me to see the positives of social media.
It’s true that people often use social media to cyber bully and bring people down, but all of the activity on the CHAARG Instagrams has shown me that there are also a ton of people who don’t even know you but want to build you up. CHAARG has also demonstrated that social media can really help to build a revolution; when CHAARG first started it was just an idea one girl presented to her sorority, but now it makes national news and they have over 10,000 members. Also I’ve seen the power of connection. All of these platforms allow people to reach out to their friends in a different state or to a girl across the country who share a similar interest.
After a year and a half I wholeheartedly believe in the CHAARG mission and I hope that any of the underclassmen in the class consider joining next semester. Or even if you’re graduating and just need a little extra motivation on your social media cites considering follow @chaarg on Instagram.